Art / Education / Local / Virginia

Norfolk State partners with Chrysler Museum to celebrate Moses Grandy

by Malik Glaspie

Norfolk State’s Fine Arts Program has collaborated with the Chrysler Museum of Art to unveil the Moses Grandy exhibition. The exhibition was held at the Chrysler Museum on Saturday, Feb. 27.

The artwork in the exhibition was inspired by an early 1800s relationship between an enslaved waterman from the Dismal Swamp and a wealthy shipping merchant from downtown Norfolk.

The exhibition was a theme for Black History Month in 2016 and a follow-up of a public lecture on Feb. 6 held at the museum by Eric Sheppard, Moses’ descendant. Sheppard spoke on Grandy’s navigation through slavery in the south and the discriminatory actions between Grandy and Moses Myers, a Jewish merchant who came to Virginia because of the commonwealth’s statute of religious freedom.

Solomon Isekeiji, Director of the Fine Arts Division and head behind the exhibition Legacies Matter, was present as a speaker at the event and also had a few words to say about how the exhibition came about, why Moses Grandy was chosen, and if we will get to see more work from this partnership.

“It was refreshing to see a large number of NSU students from Fine Arts and other departments at the Chrysler Museum on Saturday. For a long time, I harbor the belief that with the right people in place, the dream of a collaborative partnership between the Chrysler Museum and Norfolk State University’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts – Division of Fine Arts, can become a reality,” Isekeiji said. “When the opportunity to develop a collaboration with the Chrysler Museum of Fine Arts presented itself, I developed a series of events for Black History Month in collaboration with the Chrysler Museum. Since our event was scheduled to take place during the month of February (Black History Month), the idea of an exhibition which illustrated the Moses Grandy story, in my opinion, seemed appropriate since we were also in contact with his descendant Mr. Eric Sheppard. We are hoping to develop more collaborative projects with the Chrysler Museum of Fine Arts in the near future.”

There was light refreshment and music provided by the Tallwood High School Quartet.

The exhibit will be open until Mar. 13.